Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ground Beef Ragout


I don't know about you, but I LOVE having actual books in house. I have a whole book shelf dedicated to my books. I even have a special place in my kitchen for my cook books. Sometimes it's easier to flip through a book than going on the internet and searching for ideas for recipes. I also love seeing the pictures of the recipes. When I was in college my mom got me a cook book called American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholestrol 3rd Edition which has a recipe called Ground Beef Ragout. The worst thing about this book is there are NO PICTURES. Who in their right mind makes a cook book WITHOUT pictures?! Are you kidding me?! Luckily I have a good imagination and decent picture taking skills and was able to take some pictures to share.

Anyway, why I have a low-fat, low cholesterol book is beyond me. I think I liked the recipes in the book and decided it would be a good idea to get. Or maybe my mom was trying to tell me something when she got it for me. I dunno. But that's besides the point as I have the book and tested various recipes from there that were tasty.

This ragout is a hearty stew that is great for cold winter months or if you are looking to make something quick and easy. I've been known to make this in the dead of summer in Phoenix so it's always a good time to make this. Let's get cooking!

Ground Beef Ragout

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (I use 90/10)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-2 zucchini, chopped (optional)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 - 15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 - 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 3/4 cup red wine (can be non-alcoholic if needed)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp red chili pepper flakes (or less depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh oregano)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp chervil (or parsley) 
Method:
  1. Veggie Prep: Chop onions, tomatoes and zucchini.Set aside the onion in a separate container. 
  2. Beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside
  3. Ground beef: Warm a pot over medium high. Once hot enough, add ground beef. Once the beef starts browning, add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Cook until there's no pink.
  4. Once the ground beef has been browned, you will add the red wine, water, tomato sauce and spices. Mix thoroughly. Then add the beans, tomatoes and zucchini. Gently stir one last time before turning the heat down to a simmer. Cover pot and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Serve in a bowl with your favorite glass of red wine or beverage.
  6. Prepare yourself for a mouf party!
I made this recipe on one of my Cooking with Timo episodes last summer. If you really want to be entertained, check out Cooking with Timo on Snapchat. You will not be disappointed. Until next time friends!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Easy Chicken Pesto


Part of my research as a food blogger comes from scouring Pinterest for ideas for recipes. I stumbled upon a blog that has become one of my favorites - Pinch of Yum. It was here where I found the original recipe for this easy chicken pesto post. I tried their Crockpot Quinoa Chicken Primavera recipe and failed miserably. I should've known it was going to be disastrous since it was a crockpot recipe. Me and crockpots don't get along well. Not sure why this is a thing, but I can't seem to make a crockpot recipe work. I'm sure the recipe is fantastic the way that they make it, however, mine turned out mushy which made me sad. The flavor was great but the texture was not. I am huge on textures and I ended up throwing it away because I couldn't handle the texture.

I saw this as a challenge and decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own version. After multiple attempts, I believe that I have mastered what this chicken pesto should taste like. So here's my version of the Quinoa Chicken Primavera that Pinch of Yum originally created. Hope you enjoy my version!

Easy Chicken Pesto

Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 40
Serving size: 1-1/2 cup
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
  • 1 package of chicken thighs
  • Seasoning for chicken (I like to use Mrs. Dash Herb)
  • 1 jar of pesto (6-8 oz.)
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tsp. cooking oil
  • 1 cup of shelled edamame (I use frozen)
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • 1 lemon
Method:
  1. Quinoa - Prepare quinoa according to package. You will first want to rinse the quinoa before cooking. I will boil 2 cups of chicken stock in a sauce pan. Once the broth is boiling, add quinoa. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  2. Chicken - I will use my George Foreman because it's convenient for me and ridiculously easy. I'm all about the easy way out when cooking. You can use an outdoor grill or the stove top to cook your chicken. Pre-heat your grill/George Foreman/stove. Sprinkle an all purpose chicken seasoning and salt (if needed) liberally on each side of the chicken thighs. If using a George Foreman, place Chicken on grill and set timer for 10 minutes. If using a grill/stove, you can probably get away with 10-12 minutes depending on heat. You want to make sure there is no pink in center of chicken. Dice chicken into bite size pieces.
  3. Asparagus -  Rinse the asparagus and then cut into 4 sections. Heat a saute pan to medium with 1 tsp. of cooking oil. Once the pan is hot enough, add asparagus. Stir the asparagus every few minutes as it's cooking. 8-10 minutes should be plenty of time to soften it just enough that there's still a crunch to it. Set aside.
  4. Edamame - If using frozen edamame, defrost according to instructions.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, asparagus, edamame, pesto and chicken. Mix thoroughly. Serve in bowls and top with shredded Parmesan and fresh lemon juice.
  6. Prepare for a mouf party!
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. It's a tasty and easy meal to make that is great as leftovers.